Amherst woman shares her experience getting a COVID-19 vaccine through a clinical trial


AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)– An Amherst woman is doing her part to help pharmaceutical companies get one step closer to releasing a COVID-19 vaccine, by participating in GlaxoSmithKline’s clinical trial.

Christine Kemp from Amherst always had an interest in public health and when she found out there was a clinical trial going on in Rochester N.Y., she wanted to sign up. 

“I thought I am young and healthy and I am comfortable with the risks,” Kemp said. “I felt I’d be a perfect candidate to participate because I felt really comfortable doing it and there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t want to.”

Around 400 people across the country participated, including Kemp. In September she received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from the pharmaceutical company. 

“I wasn’t really concerned with safety because I knew that there were a lot of safety measures in place,” she said. “I knew that the vaccine that was being trialled was revisions of vaccines that were FDA approved so I had done a lot of research to feel comfortable.”

The trial included two doses of the vaccine. Kemp received the second dose in early October. Shortly after getting the second dose she began developing symptoms, which she says was expected. 

“About 12 hours later I had a fever and some aches and chills,” Kemp said. “They say whenever you experience those, because they also could be signs of covid, to call the study team as soon as possible.”

The clinical trial staff kept a close eye on her and there was a registered nurse on call 24/7. 

Within 24 hours she says those symptoms were gone.

“I woke up and I felt like nothing really happened,” she said. 

After going through the entire trial period, she says she feels fine.

“I joke about how I didn’t start growing another arm or a third eye or anything. I just stayed my regular self,” she said adding she wants people to look at her experience as a reference point on if getting a vaccine is right for them.

“So when the time comes where people can choose whether they feel the vaccine is a good fit for them that they have something  they can think of that can help that make that decision,” she said. 

Over the next year, Kemp will have to give three more blood samples and will have to document each non routine doctor visit or medication. 

GlaxoSmithKline is hoping to reach phase three of its vaccine trial this month. If all goes well, it well ask for regulatory approval in the first half of 2021. 

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